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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bronx marks 9/11 anniversary with solemnity and ceremony

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stood at the podium as the names of Bronxites killed on 9/11 were read aloud at Lou Gehrig Plaza on Sept. 13.

While the Northwest Bronx did not host any large ceremonies dedicated to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a Sept. 13 commemoration organized by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. struck an emotional chord with attendees from throughout the borough.

About 100 civilians along with members of Bronx police and fire departments came to the ceremony at Lou Gehrig Plaza near Yankee Stadium, where Mr. Diaz and Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon spoke.

“I think it was very touching,” said Riverdale resident Marcia Gonzalez, a principal at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls.  “It was very moving and just so appropriate. And it’s wonderful to see our Bronx members who perished being remembered.”

After the speeches, a bell rang for each of the 143 Bronx residents who died in the terrorist attacks as their names were read aloud.

“I was just so moved each time that bell rang,” said attendee Celia Domenech, who is also a principal at Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls.

While Bronxites were among the first responders and workers at the Twin Towers who died during the Sept. 11 attacks, Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan noted the Bronx is further removed from the events than other areas.

“In a sense, the Bronx is disconnected from the event because the Twin Towers were located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island,” he said. “The Bronx is part of the mainland.”

Ms. Gonzalez said she would like to see more Sept. 11 commemorations in Riverdale.  “I think we need to reconnect with those feelings we had that day,” she said. “Because where are they? They’re sort of buried, but we have to really acknowledge that they’re there.”

Manhattan College was among the few Bronx institutions to hold public ceremonies last Wednesday. By comparison, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens saw a wide range of commemorative events throughout the day.

For the tenth anniversary of the attacks, residents of the Northwest Bronx volunteered their time to memorialize the occasion, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani publically spoke and houses of worship held interfaith commemorations. 

Along with the Bronx’s distance from Manhattan, Mr. Ultan attributed the reduction in ceremonies this year to the passage of time.

“When you talk about a disconnect, it’s not a disconnect from the horror of it,” Mr. Ultan said. “It’s a disconnect from the past. It is something that is one of the many unfortunate things that have happened in the past. It’s time to move on.”

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